This post is part 2 of 4 titled “Now What”.  This series of posts is my attempt to “fill in the gaps” with a few grains of sand in regards to the different depths and aspects of DEEP design thinking.  So let’s keep the fun going and begin again… “Now What?”

So, you (your students) have your design topic selected, you (your students) have thoroughly “discovered” this topic, now what are you (they) supposed to do? Well, in design thinking there is not a road map to follow or a point A to point B to trek as the DEEP process is fluid, cyclical, interchangeable… Design thinking allows for pauses, drop ins, rewinds, and rerouting determined  by if you are meeting your user’s needs. In the Empathize mode of DEEP (as it is always the case in design thinking), it is all about the user:

  • Who are your users?
  • Where can you find your users?
  • How will you approach your users?
  • What are some good setup questions to help your users share their stories and experiences related to the topic?
  • What are your users’s expressed & latent needs?
  • Are you seeking the “whys” from your users?
  • How do you capture your users’s responses?

One thing of many things I love about design thinking is the backside of planning and the executing of a challenge is minimal and the front end of the challenge is where the possibilites are fruitful and close at hand.  Finding your users is as easy as going to the next door classroom or as extensive as leaving the campus and targeting a specific user demographic (random people at public locations or targeted users based on the design topic at hand).  It’s also helpful that with the aid of technology (skype, google hangouts, facetime) you can connect with users all across the world.

When our 2nd grade teacher, Sarah Stephenson at Mount Vernon, wanted her students to focus on the environmental health of the ocean, she utilized skype to bring her students to their users. She connected five different “ocean” users (a beach goer, a conservationist, a Georgia Aquarium specialist, a marine biologist educator, & a former Nicaragua habitant) to her five different collaborative teams. The students all started with the same topic, had different users, and then they define different POV statements, created different HMWs…, and designed completely different yet user centered solutions.  Here is a link to a DT Team’s solution video.

So my short answer to “Now What?”: it is all about the user… go find your users…observe your users… engage in conversations…capture and debrief their stories and experiences within your d.TEAMSs…

Now what? Experiment mode: oh, now it’s time to climb out of the trough and into the fire, I mean fun!